Sunday, 22 December 2013

Caetextia – Its all about context

Caetextia – Its all about context

Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell first coined the term "caetextia" in 2007 in respect to Autism in that people on the autistic spectrum rarely consider things in their wider context or in relation to other contexts. Maybe you have seen episodes of the TV series ‘Bones’ where the lead character Dr. Temperance Brennan is said to be based on a character with Aspergers Syndrome. Her literal take on events and conversations serves both to frustrate other cast members and entertain the audience; it is context blindness in action.

Noam Chomsky, a leading authority in transformational grammar, stated in 1957 that human beings unconsciously use three processes to filter information in order to create their/our own personal reality. According to him, we delete, distort and generalise information; in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) this would be classified as assumption filters. I mention this filter process as I consider it how context blindness naturally occurs.
Generalisations – We, as human beings, generalise when we take examples from specific contexts at specific times and span them across many more possible contexts in the past, present and future; thereby creating a rule for life. Listen for the use of “every time, always” etc. when applied to classifications.
Deletions – There is so much primary data hitting us at any one time that we cannot process it. American psychologist George Miller believed that we can only consciously process 7±2 pieces of date at any one given moment and we delete the rest for ease of attention. In terms of context this could be a comparative deletion where the “compared to what” has been deleted from conscious awareness. Consider a simple statement “That is not correct”; it is ‘not correct’ compared to what?
Distortions – actions happen, things are said yet we often jump to the wrong conclusion because our perception has distorted the intended meaning; its not the thing itself that is stressful but your perception of that thing. Shakespeare wrote “nothing is true or false ‘til thinking makes it so”. We perceive situations and statements from our filtered map of reality and without a back story (context) the distortion can take you anywhere in your own map. Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that "the map is not the territory", “the word is not the thing”. This concept was expanded on by Gregory Bateson in "Form, Substance and Difference", from Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972). Dr. Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder took this concept as the key operational presupposition for  Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Nominalisations – verbs to nouns

Human beings are pattern matchers by which I mean we compare each experience against patterns (maps) already stored and select the best fit; this matching is mostly unconsciously decided. This matching happens in response to a trigger (sensory based experience). One of the key areas of contextual confusion is language and in particular nominalisations where processes are turned into things for example ‘improved performance’ or ‘sharpening efficiency’ or ‘more confidence’ etc. Leaders and politicians are the biggest culprits of this as their intention is to not be pinned down to measurable definitions. Nominalisations play to contextual blindness as it is very difficult to connect nominalisations in the wider context when they don’t actually state anything without clarifying the criteria. This leads us to the metaphorical nature of language

All Language is Metaphoric.

It is easy to appreciate how misunderstanding can occur and how this can develop into context-blindness as language by its nature is vague, open to interpretation and metaphoric. The following two quotes by key figures in this field express this more eloquently:

“A metaphor is understanding something in terms of something else” – George Lakoff
“Metaphor mediates the interface between the conscious and unconscious mind” – David Grove

Metaphors have the power of enabling each individual to connect the metaphoric interpretation to each specific context in a way that best fits their map. But metaphors are a double-edged sword: when wielded poorly they have the potential to cause more harm, yet when wielded by a skilled hand, they cut to the heart of the matter. Framing correctly ensure the context and contexts can be connected appropriately and context blindness avoided. 

I have heard it said that you can not use metaphors/similes with people with autism or aspergers  as they are prone to interpret them too literally. This is due to thinking of metaphor too narrowly e.g. “he drowned in a sea of grief” when in the wider context it can be considered as “this is like that”. Rather than applying your own or learnt metaphors, listen out for and use metaphors presented by the individual as they will have patterned the meaning.

So why bother?

Context blindness, or caetextia as Ivan and Joe have termed it, is one of the key causes of anxiety. Not being able to connect to the wider context means each situation is experienced in isolation and can act as a double-bind where action and no-action appear like the old adage “out of the frying pan and into the fire”
Learning to connect in the wider context enables behavioural flexibility; in NLP terms this is termed ‘chunking up’. In CBT much of the work is based on helping people develop strategies to overcome contextual distortions and contextual blindness. Although it can appear quite obvious how caetextia effects aspergers and autism, once you consider how we all generalise, delete and distort reality to create our own functional maps then it becomes abundantly clear how contextual blindness is active to some degree in all of us.

Here is an example sited on the HG website: “a professional woman who came to see one of us had decided to give up her job in a bank and go and live in a Buddhist meditation centre. Although she was keen to do this, she was also very sad and upset because she would never see her mother again. When asked why, she said, “My mother’s a Catholic”. She assumed that, if she went to visit her mother, she would have to tell her about her own change in religious belief, and that her mother wouldn't be able to cope with it. It didn’t occur to her that people of different faiths can still know and love one another, especially if they are family; or that she could choose to protect her mother from what she thought would be devastating information for her, and just continue to go to Mass with her mother whenever she was home”.

Lets learn to remove the contextual blinkers......

Sunday, 17 November 2013

FREE Introduction to Hypnosis

FREE Introduction to Hypnosis
Would you like to understand how fears and phobias are structured/
Would you like to be in charge of the state you are in?

the Pre-Christmas offer is for a FREE day on Friday 6th December in Birmingham.

If you would like more details please follow the link above or contact me by FREE Introduction to Hypnosis day on Friday 6th December.



Friday, 15 November 2013

Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general

I recently completed an NLP Master-Trainer course and was amazed at the experience of the trainers; more than that I was amazed at the flexibility of response to the challenges set by Christina Hall. The reason I’m opening the blog with this is because I want to discuss anxiety states and specifically presentations and public speaking.

There is a long held belief that the fear of public speaking is built on negative experiences from school years; maybe a teacher called you out in from of the class, maybe sports day, maybe school assembly or something similar. The belief is that patterns of belief are built and in an effort to avoid perceived danger situations the unconscious mind fires off an anxiety response (fight-or-flight). We can look at the function of amygdalae the in this process but I leave that to your research.

Anxiety  is not a negative state, it has no negative intention, it has a purpose and that purpose is heightened response readiness. In fact if you consider the word itself, is it being used as a verb or noun? Often the problem is its being used as a noun (Naming word) where people say “I am anxious” rather than a verb where anxiety is the doing word “I don’t know about you, but I know I’m anxious to understand this process more so that it can be used in helpful ways”.

The fear of performing in public is built on a ‘snapshot mind-made movie’ of failure and or embarrassment. The amydala acts as if this snapshot is real and creates a fear avoidance response. But here is the amazing thing, its not real its only imagination; even if you had previously not succeeded in the way you had hoped that is still no proof you may not succeed in the future. So now if you consider you thinking (imagining) something might happen in a certain way is enough for your brain to respond as though it is real, how cool would it be if you can retrain it to image more useful outcomes? Hey, its your brain, you can use it however you want to.

Try this…. Image yourself sometime into the future, just after the situation you had previously feared. But this time image that everything had gone well, that you learnt from the situation, people congratulated you.. experience this new sensation as if it is real with all 5 senses and feel the smile spread not just across your face but all through you body. Keeping that sensation with you, come back to the here and now looking forward at how much easier it appears to you… How much nicer is that experience?

You can practice this over and over enough times to the point where you can just do it now, easily and gain even more confidence to change is new and exciting ways now and into the future.

Maybe your first public speaking/presentation will be where you become so interested in sharing your new found confidence that you can’t help yourself but want to stand up now and tell everyone willing to here.

Let me know how different you feel. I am looking forward to hearing from you if you want to have even more influence over yourself and others

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Do you understand the phobia cure or rewind technique

How does the rewind technique really work?

I remember when I attended my HG rewind training and Joe and he said “we have taken the phobia cure used in NLP and improved it” (or something to that effect). He said “what was missing was the creating the correct state first and the technique should only be performed once a person is in a state of deep relaxation”.  In hypnotic terms you could also create a ‘safe place’ and ensure the person is in or can access that safe place easily.

This made me think more about my NLP training and how this compares to my HG training of this technique. Suddenly it came to me that Richard Bandler describes it as a process and states “People misunderstand NLP and see it as a series of techniques when actually it is an attitude of tenacity and curiosity from which a methodology has been built and from that techniques have been developed. Techiques are a test or application of the attitude and methodology, they are NOT NLP!!

Tonight I saw a client with long-term anxiety and “deep-seated phobias” as he called them. He had seen ‘many therapists’ without any success and had been given my name. He told me he’d even bought a ‘Phobia cure CD’ which used the ‘fast phobia cure’ but it didn’t work!!! I must admit I was curious as to what ‘work’ meant or if your are interested in David Grove’s work on metaphor “what kind of work is work?”
It was quite clear he had built a black and white expectation of therapeutic interventions whereby they either ‘work’ or don’t against a very tight criteria so recalibrating his criteria was my first focus.

Anyway back to the REWIND technique… The key points are association / disassociation, state creation, and using what is presented by the client. Richard Bandler first developed the process following interviewing people who had naturally overcome their fears and phobias without therapeutic intervention and then tested his findings. His key areas of interest in NLP are state creation and sub-modalities (qualities of sensory experience); he always puts people in the states best for them and works with their sensory evidence (sub-modalities). Hold this thought…

So back to the client. As we discussed his expectation and experiences he mentioned more acceptance of science than faith and that he was interested in astral projection although it hadn’t worked for him. I added YET to the statement and continued with recalibrating expectations. From there I put him into a trance (deep state of relaxation) and asked him to float free from his body that is safe in the comfortable chair and to turn to observe his deeply relaxed and safe self . The way I presented this was actually a disassociated state!! Next I took him to what had previously been considered a danger place and gave him the ability to ‘phaze in and out’ of the experience so he could experience and then observe. After we had finished he said the observer position was behind glass in a control room where he could take notes and experiment with the experience by stepping in and out of it.

Hopefully you can see this is a rework of the REWIND technique to suit the clients reference experiences and I was able to make this shift in application as I understand the design. Once you review the original work of Richard Bandler, and adjustments by Joe, you will be able to rework yo suit virtually any client with phobias, anxiety, PTSD and more.

If you have any questions please contact me

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Heortophobia: fear of holidays

what actually is a fear of holidays?
  • new places
  • new people
  • leaving work
  • spending too much time with your family
  • fear of the unknown
  • not wanting to come back to your real life!
  • it not meeting your expectations
  • drinking too much and vomiting
There are so many possibilities....

How about we consider what some call 'the law of attraction' or 'what you focus on is what you'll get!

Our brain is a heat seeking missile and doesn't really know the difference between imagination and reality that’s why we get sucked into a good book or film and develop phobias/fears just like this one. In NLP we use a structure to build goals or more specifically ‘well-formed outcomes’
The well-formedness conditions:
1.      Be stated in the positive (that is, what you want, rather than what you don’t want), see positive and negative
2.      Be capable of representation in the sensory representational system (tangible rather than theoretical or conceptual: able in principle to be evidenced through the senses when attained - seen, heard, felt etc.)
3.      Be initiated and maintained by the individual – achievable.
4.      Have all the resources (people, psycho-physiological states, time, capital, equipment, or material) required or accessible.
5.      Have a defined time frame
6.      Have an ecology check – impact on self and those around you
When setting goals in this way it is as if the brain experiences them as real and therefore responds in that way. It exactly the same process for experiencing anticipation of fear or anxiety so its much better to point it at what you really want.
A holiday can be seen as a pause from real life so I believe you should choose to pause and run the holiday movie as an experience you will really benefit from

Friday, 31 May 2013

Kakorrhaphiophobia - fear of failure or fear of getting started

How often do you put stuff off? assignments, DIY, getting married, looking for a new job etc etc....

Its amazing how we'll procrastinate to the point that we'll doing something else (anything else) rather than the thing we know needs doing. To top that the things we often do are even harder than the thing we're putting off but because the fear of getting started passes our emotional threshold

the problem here is that there is a fault in human design which makes us intially focus on what we don't want rather than focus on what we do want. Unfortunately whatever you focus on is what you get, its sometimes referred to as the law of attraction....

In NLP the process of fixing is is to biuld well formed outcomes; the stages are:
1) State the goal in positive terms. what you want NOT what you dont want
2) Specify the goal in Sensory Based Terms - VAKOG
3) Specify the goal in a way that you find compelling
4) Run a eccology check on your Goal to make sure it is for you in all areas of your life.
5) Self-initiated and maintained.
6) State the Context of the goal.
7) State the Resources needed to achieve the goal.
8) Evidence Procedure - how will you know when you have achieved it?

Ask youself "Having achieved the goal, now looking back, what has it done for you and is doing for you?

Have fun and ask if you want more details 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Emetophobia - Fear of vomiting

Whilst teaching an NLP course in Birmingham today we got to a discussion on phobias and how they can be dealt with. It is one of those areas the NHS seems to have trouble dealing with and so either medicates or refers for therapy. The therapy of choice seems to be CBT
One lady talked about her experience of CBT for her OCD and how helpful it had been then I suddenly remembered a story about a Emetophobia support group in Birmingham.... They had tried CBT etc and the 'therapist' in charge thought he'd try what he thought was NLP and the fast phobia cure....
If you are not sure how it works it is based on changing the emotional response by a version fo flooding in a hypnotic trance. The patient is put into a trance and asked to watch a movie of the their fear played forwards and backwards. There is a bit more detail to it than that but that's enough for my blog....
He thought "I know, I'll use the same process but as its a group session I'll go one better and actually play a movie for real!"

Here comes the best bit! Image watching a movie of someone vomiting then watching it in reverse (rewind) - sick out, sick in.... gggggrrrrrr.... wasn't well received and actually had the reverse effect. I should laugh but you cant help it can you.

If you really want help with phobias I'd recommend visiting